GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba (WJHG/WECP) - Don Arias, a Panama City resident who lost his brother Adam during the 9/11 attacks, has spent the last 16 years fighting for justice in his brother's name.
Adam, the then 37 year-old bond trader, was killed when the south tower of the World Trade Center fell on September 11th.
“I have a lot of contempt for the defense, and it’s an emotional issue for me,” Arias said as the pre-trial hearings got underway.
This visit to Gitmo is his third time seeing self-proclaimed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. But Don says he holds more loathing for the defense counsel.
Arias said, “Make no doubt about it, the people on the defense team are ideologues, and they value ideology over people.”
Major Jason Wareham has been the defense counsel for alleged 9/11 co-conspirator Ammar al Baluchi for over a year now. He responded to Arias' comments.
“If the ideology is one of justice we’re in agreement there. I can certainly say that we value justice and we define justice as a full, open, and fair process in adherence to the rule of law and the standards of the rule of law," said Major Wareham.
But for Arias, justice still has not been served. This week marks the 26th pre-trial hearing in these military commissions involving the alleged co-conspirators.
“There has been no justice proffered for the people who were killed on 9/11, the loyal Americans like my brother, Adam, who were killed on 9/11," he said.
Wareham has met with several 9/11 family members over the years.
“Many of them ask, 'How can you do this job?' When I get the opportunity to explain to them that it’s actually a compatible mission, adherence to the rule of law, they often gain a different understanding," he explained.
In the end, it's how history tells the story of these commissions that matters to Wareham.
"Ultimately, I’ve described to them that I just don’t want the abandonment of the rule of law or the opaque process that’s going on down here, to be one of the legacies of 9/11," he said.
Day three of the pre-trail hearings begins Wednesday.
Note: This story as it was broadcast shows a photo of the incorrect defendant, Walid bin Attash. It should be a photo of Ammar al Baluchi.