An "aiding the enemy" charge would have put Bradley Manning in prison for life, but alone, his guilty charges could add up to to 136 years in prison. Manning never stood a chance at regaining his freedom.
Andrea O'Brien, a blogger who attended every session of the Bradley Manning trial, tweeted the following chart. It includes every charge Manning faced, the federal laws he violated, his pleas, the maximum punishments, and the verdict.
Of the 22 charges listed, Manning was acquitted of only two of them. He did plead guilty to a number of charges, drastically lowering his jail sentence. However, many analysts believe that the federal government used the high profile "aiding the enemy" charge to distract the mainstream media from the espionage accusations Manning faced.
The Espionage Act is listed multiple times under the "federal violation" column. The 65th Congress passed it in 1917 soon after the United States entered WWI. But its use in this case, some say, is a part of the government's ploy to curb free speech and discourage modern-age whistleblowing.
So even if Manning was not charged with "aiding the enemy," his ruling is still a message to all who seek to reveal the truth about our government. Because if they catch you, they've got you for life.
Manning's sentencing hearing begins Wednesday morning.