“When did you come to believe that the 9/11 official story was false and that 9/11 was an inside job – and what piece or pieces of information convinced you?”
My detractors will peg me with "a track record of gullibility," because I had open-minded and tolerant tendancies developed well before 9/11 (e.g., punk rock, international news, art & foreign films, world music, Christian Science) that allowed me to objectively consider viewpoints and evidence that ran contradictory to "steamrolled" mainstream media views. I did not actively pursue alternative theories of historical events (e.g., JFK, RFK, MLK, OKC), but would hear them out when presented and was astute enough to see where they supplied a plausible missing piece of the puzzle.
The year 2001 was part of an era when I read the Christian Science Monitor (CSM) daily, listened to NPR, obtained more and more news from the internet, and didn't watch televison except in passing. The political theater and the eventual appointment of George Bush by the Supreme Court to the Presidency in 2000 had my cackles up and arrayed against the neo-cons, and rightfully suspicious of each and every one of their endeavors in the eight months of his pre-9/11 tenure, including tax cuts, no child left behind, privatizing social security, and sabor-rattling with the Chinese over the shot-down US spy plane. As real-time as reputable newspapers can get, the CSM informed me in the summer of 2001 of the coordinated assassinations via diverse covert means but similar global agenda-advancing outcomes of various tribal Taliban leaders.
Despite my engineering school attendance being in the 1980's, by Tuesday noon (MST), September 11, 2001, I retained in my noodle enough of Sir Isaac Newton's laws to understand while viewing the WTC towers' pulverization on the internet that this required a massive and strategically controlled influx of energy in order to account for the thoroughness, symmetry, and speed of their extermination. In fact, these features flagged major flaws in the extremely efficient operation: coincidence, overkill, and thoroughness that would be unnecessary for achieving the alleged goals of "outside/foreign terrorists" and would be next to impossible without inside access and extensive preparation time within the towers. My back-of-envelope calculations of the energy requirements and study of the demolition videos screamed to my educated mind at the time: micro-nukes. The aversion of newspaper and television analysis to properly frame the physics energy of 9/11 on the towers' controlled pulverization (nevermind in hindsight how they suppressed WTC-7 and other buildings for years) was another form of shock-and-awe to (science) educated minds regarding how truth would be trampled to advance a political agenda on a global scale.
In my (non-political) online playgrounds of that period when I went off-topic, the main concern I opined were against the overly patriotic (and un-Christian) sentiments that blindly and vengefully advocated ruthless bombing and invasion of Afghanistan (and then Iraq), where losses on each side would surely exceed the victims of 9/11 in NYC. Why the rush to war, when the proof of the 9/11 scapegoats was ironically both flimsy and a bit too perfect in their packaging? If indeed they were mostly Saudi hijackers, why were we going after Afghanistan? What did Iraq have to do with 9/11? Rhetorical questions the media would dance around to avoid exposing their ignorance of physics. My dismay and consternation was not focused on the shock of the tower pulverization, but on the beating war drums and the media hype that were driving us into war at the expense of our liberties.
Television law dramas hit home "means, motive, and opportunity" as factors that convict the guilty in the courts. If "war is a racket" according to General Smedley Butler, then motive becomes clear regarding 9/11 and its purpose as part of a larger global agenda regarding the need to "take out the Taliban and Saddam" and sold to America in the blue hue of television screens with red-white-and-blue flag lapel pins, Freedom Fries, and "America Under Attack" slogans.
When the fully-written and fleshed-out USA PATRIOT Act was knee-jerked launched at Congress in the weeks after 9/11, trend lines connected these dots with that of the summer assassinations of Taliban leaders, of our rush to war with Afghanistan despite Saudi "perpetrators", of the Washington D.C. snipers (furthering shock-and-awe in the public), of the Anthrax attacks, and of the exceptionally well-coordinated & well-executed 9/11 events themselves. Motive was clear, as was who was benefitting.
Not to pat myself on the back too vigorously for my insider conspiracy conclusions forming around November 2001, but that was about when I believed the official story was false and we were being played by a "big lie:" shortly after the "bi-partisan" and overwhelming passage of the USA PATRIOT Act by Congress without having read it and after the Afghanistan invasion. Other real-time events and some 52 presidental scandals that the Bush Administration just kept piling on did nothing to dispel those dark thoughts about ruling factions within my government. The never-changing, never-faultering, never-wavering official story became incongruent with independently exposed 9/11 details based on physics and science.
I may have been an early adopter of 9/11 insider conspiracies, but I was not an active one (until 2008). I entertained hopes that media attention to the growing mass of 9/11 truth activism would turn the tide and usher in new leadership. No, the media labels "crazy, loony, and insane" were quick, consistent, and coordinated to smear doubting Thomas's and maintain the cover-up.