‘Sustained crusade’ against ex-army press officer forced to lie about bombproof vehicles

© Ahmad Masood
John Salisbury-Baker, who said in 2009 that spreading government propaganda about inadequate vehicles caused him to suffer post-traumatic stress, is still fighting for his pension and disability entitlement six years on.

He told the York Press newspaper his entitlements, which include holiday pay, pension money and disability and interest payments, are being held up by the “dirty tricks” of his former employers at the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

He made headlines in 2009 after he claimed he had been required by the MoD to “defend the morally indefensible” and vouch for the British Army’s controversial Snatch Landrovers to the media, saying the vehicles were resistant to roadside bombs.

He says the MoD are victimizing him even after his claims about inadequate equipment given to soldiers in Iraq were shown to be true. This came after evidence sessions for the highly controversial and yet-to-be-published Chilcot Inquiry.

His case went to an employment tribunal in 2010. He claims all his entitlements were to be settled in a single payment agreed with the MoD.

Salisbury-Baker says the MoD changed the terms of the settlement a day later in an attempt to deny him some payments, including holiday pay.

However, the ‘dirty tricks’ did not stop there,” he claims. “The MOD refused to pay interest on the not inconsiderable back payment of disability pension.

He was awarded some of what he is owed by a judge at York County Court in January, but the MoD filed an out-of-time appeal due to be heard in Leeds in October.

Mr Salisbury-Baker’s concerns are subject to ongoing legal proceedings and it would therefore be inappropriate to comment further at this stage,” said an MoD spokesman.

"We hope this matter can be resolved as quickly as possible.

In 2009, Salisbury-Baker’s partner Christine Brooke told the Mail that as an MoD press officer he had come into regular contact with the families of soldiers killed driving the Snatch.

Salisbury-Baker, who has been diagnosed with PTSD, was “expected to lie for the MoD,” Brooke said. “It was part of his job and a burden he simply couldn't bear.

“He was plagued by the thought that some of them might have previously believed their loved ones were safe, because of what he himself had told the media.

The Snatch vehicles clearly did not give adequate protection from roadside bombs and yet here he was having to say they did,” she said.