ASIO probes link to bomber

THE reported involvement of a Victorian woman with an alleged anarchist bomber in Mexico has prompted ASIO to open a counter-terrorism probe that includes broad inquiries into Melbourne's anarchist political scene.

Fairfax Media has confirmed that ASIO is investigating Felicity Ryder, a Melbourne University graduate and anarchist who is wanted for questioning by Mexican counter-terrorism authorities. Ms Ryder came to police attention in late June after her passport was found in the backpack of alleged anarchist bomber Mario Antonio Lopez Hernandez, who was arrested after being wounded by the accidental explosion of an improvised explosive device in Mexico City.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has confirmed that it is aware Mexican authorities are still seeking Ms Ryder. Her whereabouts are unknown, including to her parents, Lyndon and Jenny Ryder who live in Rutherglen.

ASIO's investigation of Ms Ryder has included interviews with Melbourne-based activists and Rutherglen residents. She has been in intermittent email contact to advise friends and family that she is safe. It is understood that on legal advice, she has no plans to present herself to Mexican authorities.

In a statement posted on a Mexican anarchist website in mid-July, Ms Ryder declared herself to be "proud of being an anarchist, and proud to be an enemy of authority and the State."

Jenny Ryder has told Fairfax Media that it was "beyond comprehension to think that our daughter would have had any involvement with violence".

Security sources have told Fairfax Media that international connections between anarchist extremists, facilitated by the internet, are "a matter of legitimate concern''. An ASIO interview with one Melbourne activist last month indicated a wide-ranging interest in anarchist groups and personalities, and especially links overseas.

Australia's hosting the G-20 economic leaders meeting in Brisbane in November 2014 is raised as a particular focus for security planning and intelligence collection, including surveillance of groups that might engage in violent protest activity. Anarchist activists were blamed by police for violent demonstrations that accompanied the G-20 finance ministers meeting in Melbourne in 2006.

This story ASIO probes link to bomber first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.