Newspaper headlines: Return to Iraq, and Army 'shouting ban'

"Back To Iraq" is the Sun's headline, on the story that Britain is to step up its military presence in that country to a figure in "the low hundreds".

The troops will train Iraqi National Army and Kurdish Peshmerga forces to help them combat Islamic State jihadists.

The Sun on Sunday says that - apart from size of the British contingent - there are significant differences between now, and 2011 - the last time Britain had "boots on the ground" in Iraq.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption British troops will help train members of the Kurdish Peshmerga militia, like these troops

"Our troops have now been invited to help save the country from brutal and ruthless invaders.

"And this time the enemy really does pose a clear and present danger to the streets of Britain," its commentary says.

The Sunday Times leads on the move.

The training force - which will also feature paratroop "force protection" units, and elements from the Royal Armoured Corps, to move the men safely around the country - will be based in four camps in Iraq, three near Baghdad and one in Iraqi Kurdistan, the paper says.

The Times adds the operation - which will also feature nearly 5,000 US training troops - is to be called Operation Inherent Resolve.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon - who announced the deployment - is interviewed in the Sunday Telegraph.

He tells the paper British troops will be particularly involved with training Iraqi soldiers to deal with "car and roadside devices and truck bombs", as they seek to root IS fighters out from the villages and towns they occupy.

The Independent on Sunday has a story on the UK's last, unhappy, involvement in Iraq.

It says, "hundreds of new cases accusing British soldiers of abusing - in many cases torturing - Iraqi men, women and children... are to be considered by the International Criminal Court.."

The new cases, mainly referring to incidents alleged to have occurred between 2003 and 2009, are on top of the abuses expected to be detailed by an official report that looked at the death and mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners held by the British Army in 2004. That report is released on Wednesday, the Independent notes.


'Happy we did it'

The repercussions of the CIA "torture" report continues to mulled over in the press - and the question of what British involvement was their in the rendition and interrogation of terrorism suspects, is to the fore.

Image caption Jack Straw

The Observer says the Commons' "powerful" intelligence and security committee is to demand the Americans hand over "archive material" relating to British involvement in the CIA programme.

"The move comes amid escalating pressure on the government not to extend an agreement allowing the US to use the British Overseas Territory of Diego Garcia as a military base until its true role in the CIA's extraordinary rendition has been established," the paper adds.

Talks on continuing US usage of the Indian Ocean territory are due to begin this month, the Observer notes.

In its opinion column, the Observer says, "it is time to nail the lies in this shameful episode in US and British history.

"The government's reluctant admission, after initial denials, that parts of the US report were redacted after discussion with Britain's security services was a reminder of how hard it is to trust or believe what we are told when the subject is national security (however that is defined)."

The paper says previous attempts to uncover Britain's complicity in the affair "were thwarted by MI6".

The UK security servicess deny taking part in any form of torture.

The Sunday Times says that former home secretary Jack Straw has been questioned by the Met Police about the extradition of two Libyans to Tripoli, where the men say they were tortured by Col Gadaffi's regime.

The paper says the questioning took place in 2012, and a "source" close to Mr Straw says the politician was interviewed as a witness and is not suspected of any criminal activity.

Mr Straw says he has scrupulously followed the law at all times.

In a feature on the CIA allegations, the paper speaks to those involved in the "torture" programme and finds them vigorously defending its use.

Former CIA director Michael Hayden says criticism by US senators was a "luxury they can now afford because it [the 'torture' techniques] did work and made them safe.

They are "troubled by what we did largely because they are happy we did it," he adds.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Current CIA director John Brennan says his organisation "did a lot of things right"

Carole Malone, writing in her column in the Sunday Mirror, says civilised norms may have to be bent in the fight against terrorism.

"Ordinary people can't handle the truth of what happens in war.

"Terrorists must be stopped. And we can't always do that by treating them like decent human beings - because they're not.

"They're murdering ideologues who are totally devoid of humanity and hell-bent on destroying the West."

The Mail on Sunday has a four-page spread on the allegations, featuring a man who says he was tortured by UK special forces, and one of the Libyans who was handed to the Tripoli regime.

It carries an opinion piece by former British diplomat Craig Murray, who says Tony Blair and Jack Straw should face trial for their collusion with the US programme.


'Ambulance-chasing lawyers'

From "harsh and brutal" interrogation techniques, to ones seen as "too soft".

The Sunday Telegraph's lead story tells how Army chiefs worry that military intelligence officers are being hampered by new rules on how they should interrogate captives.

The rules - which the paper obtained from court papers - ban, "shouting in captives ears"; "banging their fists on tables or walls" and "using insulting words" when speaking to suspects.

Image caption Lord West

The Telegraph notes, "the rules replaced a previous policy that had to be withdrawn after a series of legal challenges , and the death in custody of Baha Mousa, an Iraqi detainee in Basra."

But the paper says there is a feeling "within the ranks" that the new guidelines "are so stringent that it makes interrogation impossible".

Col Tim Collins, a retired Army officer who served in Iraq, tells the paper, "the effect of ambulance-chasing lawyers and the play-it-safe judges is that we have got to the point where we have lost our operational capability to do tactical questioning.

"That itself brings risks to the lives of people we deploy."

Former First sea Lord, Lord West, adds, "While these insurgents are chopping people's heads off and raping women, the idea they can take us to court because somebody shouted at them is ridiculous".

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon says he is also concerned about the "legal scrutiny" the Armed Forces are under at all times.

"Cases... are being brought, sometimes spuriously, by law firms representing people who claim they were wrongly detained."


Ageing system

The papers continue to mull over Friday's computer failure at the UK's National Air Traffic Services (Nats) centre, which grounded flights over much of Britain and left substantial delays even after it was put right.

The Independent on Sunday's lead says Nats' bosses were warned that their plans for such a contingency "lacked detail and clarity" only four months ago.

Image copyright Getty Images

The paper says the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) had said the agency had to be better prepared, following a major software glitch in 2013.

"Nats is particularly sensitive to technical faults as the bulk of its IT systems date back to before the internet age and do not always link up effectively with modern software and hardware.," the paper says.

It is in the middle of a £575m programme to replace its antiquated hardware, the Independent adds.

Richard Deakin, Nats' chief executive, denies the problems were caused because redundancies at the organisation's HQ in Swanwick, Hampshire, had left it short of trained staff.

"Mr Deakin added that he disagreed with elements of the CAA's evaluation of Nats's contingency plans, but pointed out that 'one of the challenges' was their ageing systems," the paper reports.

Under the headline "air chaos boss paid £1m", the Sunday Times reports that Mr Deakin has received a 45% pay rise this year, to take his salary up to a seven-figure sum.

The paper says MPs are set to question why the boss of an agency which is 49% state-owned receives "such a huge sum".

The Mail on Sunday says that the estimated 120,000 passengers hit by plane cancellations and delays will get no compensation because airlines will complain the glitch "was beyond their control".

"This will enable them to sidestep regulations which say passengers are entitled to up to £470 for cancelled and severely delayed flights," the paper says.


Little soldier

There is one set of pictures that adorn virtually all of Sunday's papers.

The release by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge of a set of Christmas pictures of Prince George, proves irresistible to the nation's picture editors.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Prince George posed on the steps in Kensington Palace's courtyard

The toddler Prince, wearing a distinctly traditional tank-top and shorts combo and beaming at the camera, is "more gorgeous than ever" according to the Mail on Sunday.

"He has been crowned 'His Royal Cuteness'," says the ever-so slightly gushing article accompanying the pictures.

If you want to dress your young child in the 16-month-old prince's outfit - and Fleet Street suspects there are mums that do - the MoS lists where all of its components can be sourced.

Perhaps it's a reflection on austerity being reflected in Royal expenditure, that nothing His Royal Cuteness wears costs more than £49, and the whole outfit comes in at under £100.

But just how trendy is the look?

The Sunday Telegraph is the place to consult the baby-wear fashionistas.

George models "knitwear, corduroy and long socks: a timeless look" which has "already made him a fashion icon", the paper says.

The Sun on Sunday notes George's close resemblance to his father at the same age, and reckons his guardsman-print jumper makes him "daddy's little soldier".

A source tells the paper, "George is talking and it's his first Christmas where he understands a bit of what's going on".

Prepare for a lifetime of attention (and fashion analysis) little man!

Making people click

Express: Police pet killing broke the law

Telegraph: French prepare end-of-life legislation

Mirror: Geminids meteor shower: live

Observer: Russian plane nearly hits passenger jet over Sweden