composer + drupal_project doesn't install drupal! Why not?

I’ve been having a real hard time installing Drupal using Drupal_project and composer. I’ve tried everything I know and can’t figure out. I’m convinced either the instructions on this page are wrong/out of date, or the project has a bug.

The problem is that drupal never installs. When I run drupal_project, siteroot has these files and directories:
LICENSE README.md composer.json drush phpunit.xml.dist scripts

Expected result is that I would see additional directories for drupal, drupal-scaffold and maybe more. I do not see any of these things.

I’m using ssh to run commands via command line on shared hosting. My shared hosting service has composer installed globally. It is version 1.1 which is out of date, but I’ve also tried installing a local version at the latest stable version of composer. Same result. (I’ve been told that 1.1 is sufficient to download drupal and drupal components from composer.

Here are the commands that I run (lifted from the composer how to). https://www.drupal.org/node/2718229

composer create-project drupal-composer/drupal-project:8.x-dev my_site_name_dir --stability dev --no-interaction
composer config repositories.drupal composer https://packages.drupal.org/8 

The messages from the first command look like this:

Installing drupal-composer/drupal-project (8.x-dev 7d94b4d322a9625bc5b151bdac0557ed64526492)
  - Installing drupal-composer/drupal-project (8.x-dev 7d94b4d): Cloning 7d94b4d322 from cache
Created project in rj2_site_name_dir
> DrupalProjectcomposerScriptHandler::checkComposerVersion
Loading composer repositories with package information
Updating dependencies (including require-dev)
Killed

(I don’t know if “killed” is normal. Is it? )

In the composer.json file in siteroot, I have these dependencies.

"require": {
        "composer/installers": "^1.2",
        "drupal-composer/drupal-scaffold": "^2.2",
        "cweagans/composer-patches": "~1.0",
        "drupal/core": "~8.0",
        "drush/drush": "~8.0",
        "drupal/console": "~1.0"

I have used the composer validate command which shows no errors.

So as far as I can tell, everything looks right. So what’s failing and how to fix it?

Is it necessary for me to run some additional command here to get drupal/core to install? Does “killed” indicate that something has been interrupted?

Finally, let me say that I am interested mainly in using composer to test and deploy drupal and drupal modules. (I am not interested in doing dev work). I’d like to see a way to handle updates/upgrades through composer; At times (especially like now for instance), I would be interested in deploying/testing beta and release candidates. Does the fact that the suggested command specifies –stability dev means that it’s only for developers? What would be the command to make sure I am dealing with particular versions — and not just dev streams?

Drupal version: 


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