LAS CRUCES, N.M.
Clifford Alford is a man of many talents (so many, in fact, that his résumé gives him the unusual composite title of "Dr. Sir Chief"), and one of them, he says, is his expertise on the occult. Long before he announced himself as leader of a group he calls New Mexico Border Watch, Alford conducted law enforcement training on Satanism that included advice on how to confront suspected occultists.
In a pamphlet, he warned police officers that even children and senior citizens can attack without warning when under Satan's influence. Therefore, he suggested, when approaching occult criminal suspects, "always have your holster strap or flap undone and your hand around the grip with your thumb over the hammer."
That's not the only surprising thing Alford has done. Even after he became active in the anti-immigration movement last spring, he retained his membership in the American Civil Liberties Union -- despite the fact that the ACLU was on record as being vigorously opposed to the Minutemen and similar citizens patrol groups. Then Alford ran last June for the board of directors of the ACLU's chapter in his home town of Las Cruces, N.M., and won -- a development that caused national ACLU officials embarrassed by the situation to suspend the entire chapter.
Now, Alford and his followers are promising that they are in it for the long haul. They were patrolling on the border well before the Minutemen and their leader Chris Simcox arrived there in October for patrols of their own. And they say they'll be there long after Simcox's crew is forgotten, patrolling a 70-mile stretch between Columbus and Sunland Park. In fact, Alford has harsh words for Simcox, who Alford points out "is not almighty God and ... not Grand Prior of the Knights Templar." Alford should know; he is himself a Templar knight.
And Dr. Sir Chief Alford says he's a few other things, too: a Cherokee shaman, ex-felon (no further details offered), Wiccan sorcerer, CIA operative and Reiki master. When he's not busy patrolling the border, Alford teaches classes on personal magnetism, Cherokee knuckle reading and forming your own coven.